What causes headaches? Why are they so frequent for some people?


Headaches are very common throughout adults and children. There are over 200 different type of headaches.

According to kidshealth.org:

        'Headaches are thought to be caused by changes in chemicals, nerves, or blood vessels in the area. These changes send pain messages to the brain and bring on a headache."




Frequent headaches are defined as headaches that occur at least 180 days out of the year. According to the John Hopkins School of Public Health, More than 4% of the US population suffers form frequent headaches. The study also showed that frequent headaches are nearly twice as common in women than in men. Caucasians had more frequent heacaches then african americas, and lastly, those with less than a high school diploma suffered from headaches more than those with higher education.

The causes of different types of headaches are as follows:

-Certain medications (side effects), little sleep, skipping meals, being dehydrated, minor head injuries, using the computer or watching TV for too long, long trips in a car or bus, listening to loud music, smoking, and drinking or eating too much caffine.

There are many other causes of headaches, but there are just some of the more popular ones.

The most common type of headache is a 'Tension Headache'.

Tension headaches are caused by muscular strains in the head and neck and/or emotional stress. Tension headaches are usually dull, and include aching pains on both sides of the head. Some say that it is closley related to Migraines.

Many factors that contirbute to receiveing a Tension Headache are:

-Stress, depression, anxiety, bad posture, staying in one position too long, working in a weird position for too long, and clenching one's jaw.

Having said all of that, it makes more sense that so many people in America are getting frequent  headaches. The factors listed above are all things that people eat, drink, or go through everyday.

My question is why are headaches more freqent in females than males? What is it about the females brain that causes such servere headaches?




According to Science Daily, the researchers at UCLA, studied that women may have a faster trigger than men for activating the waves of brain activity thought to underlie migraines. If their theory is correct, this triggering mechanism may be a new target for migraine treatment.



Sources // For more information!

--> http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/07/980701081945.htm

-->  http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2012/01/what-causes-headaches/

--> http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/73936.php

--> http://health.howstuffworks.com/diseases-conditions/headache/question648.htm

--> http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/aches/headache.html 

--> http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070806094703.htm 

--> www.google.com/images


I'm very familiar with constant migraines - as a child I would get migraines 1-2 times a week. As a kid I didn't want to take any medicine for the pain, so I'd lay on my parent's bathroom floor until I got sick and fell asleep. When I woke up the pain was usually gone. I still get bad headaches pretty frequently, but nothing like it used to be, and of course now I'm always willing to pop a few Advil to make the pain go away. It was definitely not easy for my pediatrician to pinpoint a cause of my migraines, but after a few months of awful ones during the summer, we started thinking it had something to do with being out in the sun for long periods of time. You mention dehydration in your post, but a lesser known cause is bright lights and sunlight - according to Mayo Clinic, they can also induce migraines!


I did an article very similar to this.... http://www.personal.psu.edu/afr3/blogs/siowfa12/2012/11/the-unknown-migraine.html
I have a very similar issue. I get migraines very often. Usually it is from lack of sleeping, eating, drinking or stress. Sometimes, it is even from the weather changes. There are certain chemicals in our body that reacts to these different changes. Headaches are triggered through the trigeminal nerve. It is also a result from the imbalance of certain chemicals such as serotonin. This chemical regulates pain throughout our nerve system. Is advil really the cure? Or do we just convince ourselves it works?

Likewise I am very familiar with migraines and tension headaches. I have been suffering with both since I have been about 12 years old. I would always have to take 3 ibuprofen and sleep to get any sort of relief. As i have gotten older, the pain has gotten worse- to the point where no medication over the counter can give me relief. My doctors still haven't been able to exactly pinpoint my issue. They have proscribed me glasses, allergy medication, and slightly changed my diet in oder to give me relief. I have been able to get some relief, but i still get pretty intense migraines and tension headaches. As an addition, here is some information that highlights certain foods to trigger migraines (http://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/guide/triggers-specific-foods) But I have a question. Is it possible to totally eliminate migraines/tension headaches?

According to these findings, women are more likely to feel stress (or at least to report it) and are more likely than men to experience the physical symptoms that go along with stress, such as headaches. One reason women get more stressed could be because of increased levels of estrogen, such as this article explains. These findings came through controlled experiments, so I think the results are a pretty good explanation of why women feel more stressed than men, which could directly relate to headaches.

This is very interesting as i have noticed myself getting more frequently and powerful head aches then men I am around. I think an interesting addition to this maybe how our increased use of technology ( laptops,tablets,iphones ect.) for prolonged periods can affect the frequency and pain off headaches? or maybe these devices are a headache triggers themselves? This may be a more gender neutral subject, and very relavent to our and future generations as we increase technology use.

I found this post very interesting because I too used to suffer from frequent migraine headaches. During junior high I would get a bad migraine about every other day. I saw many doctors, neurologists, and allergy specialists. I had two MRI's and countless test and not one doctor had a definite answer. We were shocked that with modern day medicine there was no answer or cure for this frequent pain a pre-teen was experiencing. We mostly just received a prescription for a pain killer. After about two years the migraines slowly disappeared. Today I very rarely have them! This school year I actually learned something that might have been the cause. I drank a lot of milk as a kid and I learned that recent research has showed that milk can actually have a mild opiate effect which later causes headaches. I have also noticed that when I do get migraines it is actually due to the opposite of drinking too much caffein. I drink coffee every morning and usually get a headache the mornings when I do not. It would be interesting to look into how the brain becomes addicted to products such as caffein and how it has withdraw symptoms.

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